Insect microRNAs: Structure, function and evolution

Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2007 Jan;37(1):3-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2006.10.006. Epub 2006 Nov 7.


The small regulatory non-coding RNA molecules, known as microRNAs, have been recognized as potential regulator(s) of gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. In Drosophila melanogaster, microRNAs have been identified that control important developmental processes such as apoptosis, cell division, Notch signaling, neural development and oogenesis, among others. Once activated through a step-wise maturation process, a microRNA can potentially regulate more than 50 target genes temporally and spatially in Drosophila. Thus, it is of tremendous importance to understand how these small RNA molecules have evolved and how they are expressed and regulated to impact cellular function and the associated evolutionary fitness. Studies of microRNAs in diverse insect species using the genome sequences (at least 49 insect genome sequences are in progress) may provide important clues to better understand the natural selection of microRNA genes in particular and their impact on biological functions in insects in general.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bees / genetics
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Culicidae / genetics
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Insecta / genetics*
  • Introns
  • MicroRNAs*


  • MicroRNAs